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TOPIC: Who traditionally gets buried in family plot?

Who traditionally gets buried in family plot? 17 Nov 2010 13:04 #415

  • Lukus
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My sister-in-law has terminal cancer. She wants to be buried with my brother and their daughter when they pass away. The family burial plot on her side of the family only accepts direct descendants and is limited to 3 generations which means it stops after her. It also means that my brother and their daughter cannot be buried with her if she gets buried there.

Faced with that dilemma, my sister-in-law has now expressed a wish to be buried in our family plot where my mother and father both rest. All 6 siblings are alive and this has been a touchy matter.

Questions that have been raised are...

- Should in-laws be buried in our family plot?
- Should the headstone be engraved with the siblings only and the others on a plaque (the rules allow for a plaque to be installed on the ground in front of the headstone)?
- As this plaque will accomodate several names, who should bare the initial cost of installing one? (Should the first person requiring the plaque bare the cost?)

Is there such a thing as traditions or etiquettes when it comes to dealing with this topic? If so, where???
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Re:Who traditionally gets buried in family plot? 17 Nov 2010 14:53 #416

Different families have different traditions, and there are no hard and fast rules. Even if there were, hewing to hard and fast etiquette rules is not going to solve a difficult family situation. Families are, in part, what we create, the people we choose to love or marry - families aren't a static feature of nature with strict categories. Appealing to "well, you're not a direct descendant" type of rules does no kindness to anyone in the family. I'm afraid you're going to have to do the hard work of having a candid, but respectful conversation among all parties in order to resolve this.

It helps to remember that everyone involved has legitimate emotional needs - the dying woman, and the other siblings who may have counted on being buried together with their families. These might be in conflict, and to resolve that requires everyone to make a real effort to take into account the feelings of the others, and to try to determine who is most in need. It's not an easy balancing act, I know, but bureaucratic rules won't help, and trying to apply them will only seem cold.

The same goes for the money issues. No one who is dying has a right to expect that other people will pay for something that he or she himself cannot afford when it comes to funerals and burials. On the other hand, many families chip in (to the degree everyone can reasonably afford to) to help carry those with less money.

Good luck to you.
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Re:Who traditionally gets buried in family plot? 17 Nov 2010 20:53 #419


There are no rules, traditions, or etiquette when it comes to funeral and burial arrangements...at least that I know of. Whatever works best for your (extended) family is what you should do, after negotiating it with everyone involved.
And further, please know that the issue of payment and cost is certainly something that you'll need to deal with, inasmuch as it'll surely be required before any services are performed.
Not a good answer, I know, but none of this is cut and dried that I know of...

Best wishes,
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